Warning signs of prescription drug addiction

What Are The Warning Signs Of Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction is using prescription drugs in a way not planned by the prescriber. Warning signs of prescription drug addiction, also known as prescription drug misuse, comprises everything from taking a prescription painkiller for a backache to injecting ground-up drugs to get high. Warning signs of prescription drug addiction may become endless and compulsive, despite the adverse consequences.

The NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) estimates eighteen million Americans abused prescription medications in 2017. Prescription drug abuse implies taking drugs other than they were prescribed. The NIDA reports that prescription drug abuse can lead to addiction and a raised risk of overdose. The most misused drugs include:

  • Opioid painkillers like codeine, oxycodone, and fentanyl
  • CNS (Central Nervous System) depressants
  • Stimulants

Warning Signs Of Prescription Drug Addiction

Physical Changes

Physical signs of prescription drug abuse depend on the type of drug abused. 

Symptoms of opioid abuse are: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Confusion

Symptoms of CNS depressant abuse include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Slow breathing
  • Memory loss
  • Walking unsteadily
  • Poor concentration
  • Slow speech

Symptoms of stimulant abuse include:  

  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High body temperature

Behavioral Changes

Prescription drug abuse can direct to irritability, mood swings, or neglecting duties like school or work. Behavioral changes might include:

  • Frequent bathroom breaks
  • Requesting early refills
  • Leaving home at unusual hours
  • Seeing numerous doctors for the same problem
  • Altering regular routines
  • Constantly changing work schedules

Relationship Problems

A drug difficulty can drive somebody to isolate themselves, per the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). If conveying with a loved one about prescription drug use proves hard, one might require to speak to a professional. Anger and denial are widespread reactions that can harm the connection with the person. 

Money Issues

Expending massive amounts of money to purchase drugs is also an indication of drug abuse. People with prescription drug difficulty might also have to steal to support their habit.


Withdrawal is the body’s response to working without a substance it is dependent on. According to the NIDA, it is not constantly a sign of abuse; people using drugs as directed can also encounter withdrawal. Nonetheless, severe withdrawal indications could indicate difficulty and be life-threatening.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Vomiting
  • Appearing pale
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Yawning
  • Feeling tired
  • Sweating
  • Body aches
  • Goosebumps
  • Shakiness

CNS depressant withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Shakiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Fever 

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sleep problems
  • Feeling tired
  • Depression

With the increasing difficulty, prescription drug abuse can influence all age groups, comprising teens. However, timely identification of prescription drug abuse and timely intervention may deter the problem from becoming dependent.

Causes Of Prescription Drug Abuse

Adults and teens abuse prescription drugs for many justifications, such as:

  • To ease pain
  • To feel good or get high
  • To relax or alleviate tension
  • To reduce appetite
  • To boost alertness
  • To be accepted by peers or to be social
  • To experiment with the mental consequences of the substance
  • To try to enhance concentration and school or work performance
  • To maintain an addiction and prevent withdrawal

Risk factors Of Prescription Drug Abuse

Some people worry that they may become addicted to drugs prescribed for medical situations, such as painkillers specified after surgery. But the person can lessen the risk by carefully following the health care provider’s advice. 


Risks of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Past or present dependencies on other substances, comprising tobacco and alcohol 
  • Specific pre-existing mental health situations
  • Lack of understanding about prescription drugs and their likely harm
  • Peer pressure or a social setting where there is drug use
  • Family history of substance abuse difficulties
  • Easier access to prescription drugs, like having prescription drugs in the home medicine cabinet

Side Effects Of Prescription Drugs

The side effects of prescription drug addiction are the following:

Mood Swings

Severe mood swings are one of prescription drug misuse’s most apparent side effects. One minute, the user could be extremely calm and relaxed, and relatively soon after, they seem very irritable. Over the extended term, their mood swings may arise closer and closer. The reason could be developing a tolerance to the prescription drugs and requiring a higher dosage to get a similar feeling.



Anxiety is a widespread side effect of prescription drug addiction. Anxiety will make the user seem nervous, uneasy, and worried. Individuals who suffer from severe anxiety will appear to be worried almost always.


Erratic Behavior

A person abusing prescription drugs may formulate erratic behavior as drug dependence develops.


Too Much Or Little Sleep

An individual’s sleep influence will depend on the type of prescription drug. Some may result in the user to sleep for a longer quantity of time, while others may result in bouts of insomnia. The person may find these side effects irritating and return to other drugs to neutralize insomnia.



Confusion is a common side effect because prescription medications affect the brain. This can occur even with short-term usage of prescription drugs. However, as the user comes to be more frequent, the confusion may appear to get worse.


Prescription drugs, particularly stimulants, may make the user hyperactive. As a result, a person may seem incapable of sitting still, even for short periods.

Suicidal Tendencies

Even with regulated use, a side effect of prescription drug addiction is that the person feels vulnerable and alone, especially if they quit taking specific prescriptions abruptly.


Speak with your healthcare provider if you have difficulty with the effects of prescription drug addiction. You may feel uneasy talking about it but know that medical experts are equipped to help you, not judge you. In addition, it is simpler to face the problem timely before it becomes an addiction and directs to more severe problems.

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